Chip’s Guide to Choosing and Installing Shelves for a Contemporary Look

Brands, Building & Construction, Tips & How To

Jul 18, 2023

posted on:

‍Shelves have come a long way from being simple, functional pieces of furniture to stash a bunch of knick-knacks to being a statement-making design element. The modern design aesthetic has embraced the concept of open shelving, bringing them to the forefront of contemporary interior design. The beauty of shelves lies in their versatility and ability to fit into any space, whether it’s a living room, bedroom, or even a media room.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Shelves

Choosing the right shelves is crucial to achieving a contemporary look in your space. Not all shelves are created equal, and the type of shelves you choose can either blend into the background or make a statement. When selecting shelves, consider the material, color, and style. Glass shelves or those with a glossy finish are perfect for a sleek and modern look, while natural wood or rustic shelves can add warmth and texture to a space.

Another important factor to consider when choosing shelves is the weight of the items you plan to store on them. Heavy objects require sturdy shelves that can bear their weight without sagging or breaking. Besides, the size of the shelf should be proportional to the size of the objects you plan to store on them.

Shelfology has a wide selection of customizable, uber-high-quality shelving and storage products with various weight capacities for your project needs. At Pinhoti, we went with a combination of metal and walnut shelves from their Skaksel Wood & Steel and Bender Wall Mounted Collections.

Factors to Consider When Positioning Shelves

Once you’ve chosen the right shelves, positioning them correctly is crucial to achieving a contemporary look. Here are some factors to consider when positioning shelves:


The height at which you position your shelves can create a sense of balance and harmony in your space. Consider the height of your ceilings and the size of the objects you plan to store on them when determining the height of your shelves.


Proportion is key when positioning shelves. The size of your shelves should be proportional to the size of the wall and the objects you plan to store on them. When positioning multiple shelves, ensure that the distance between them is proportional to the size of the objects you plan to store on them.


Consider the functionality of the shelves when positioning them. If you plan to store everyday essentials or frequently used items, position the shelves at a height that is easily accessible.

We typically mock up our layout in SketchUp like the picture above for the Media Room at Pinhoti, but also do a test layout on the floor to ensure we like the layout in real life before drilling holes into the walls.

Tips for Styling Shelves in a Modern Way

Styling your shelves is an art form and can make or break the overall look of your space. Here are some tips for styling shelves in a modern way:

Keep It Simple

A minimalist approach is key when styling shelves in a modern way. Over decorating shelves is the most common mistake we see when you’re trying to keep a contemporary look. Avoid cluttering your shelves with too many objects and keep the color palette neutral.

Group Similar Objects

Group similar objects together to create a cohesive look. Consider grouping decor items by color or texture to create a statement feature.

Mix and Match

Mix and match different materials and textures to add depth and interest to your design. Consider combining natural wood with metal (like we did on this project) or glass to create a unique and contemporary look.

Light Up Your Shelves

Consider adding LED lights to your floating shelves to create a warm and inviting ambiance in your space. LED lights can highlight your decor items and create a focal point in your design. Shelfology has some great LED options built into shelves to make this super easy!

Incorporate Plants

Plants can add life and texture to your interiors. Consider adding small potted plants to your floating shelves to create a natural and calming feel.

Enjoy this montage of our shelf install at Pinhoti!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *